What is STARR?

Behavioural Interview Techniques – The STARR Approach used by the WLU Students’ Union

What is STARR and why do we use it?

First and foremost, STARR is a behavioural based interviewing system that is designed to get the applicant to talk about experiences they have had in the past, how they worked through specific problems/tasks/situations, what the outcomes were and how the problems/tasks/situations relate back to the position they are applying for.

Behavioural based interviewing is used by many Human Resources departments and Human Resources professionals as it gives employers a good indication of how an applicant will handle future situations if they arise. The Students’ Union uses STARR as it allows for the Hiring and Recruitment team to standardize marking across all volunteer applications. It minimizes bias as well as prepares people for the real world. Whether a company calls their technique STARR or not, behavioural based questions (also referred to as situational based questions) will almost always be asked (eg. tell us about a time when…, describe a situation when you had to … give us an example of …); so getting to know the process now will only aid you in the future.

So here are some tips if you are applying for a volunteer position within the Students’ Union:

What is the Students’ Union looking for when you are writing a STARR answer?

S – Situation; explain a situation that you were in that works with the question being asked

T – Task; what was YOUR task in the specific situation

A – Actions; we are looking for three (3) distinct actions that YOU took in order to accomplish your task; we want to know what you did. In the action portion of your application, make sure you talk about a quality you showed and then explain how you showed that quality. So for some examples:

Think of qualities/attributes that you think would be important for the position you are applying for and how you showed those qualities in your situation you are describing.

R – Result; we just want to know how it went! Either good or bad is fine. Don’t worry about going too in depth here! It should be very quick.

R – Relate; this is probably one of the most important parts of your answer. You will now take a look back at the actions you have said and discuss with the hiring panel how they relate to the position you are applying for. So for example, if you had communication as one of your actions, you should be able to explain why communication relates to the position you are applying to. Some tips for the relating portion:

So now you have an idea of what we are looking for … how can you prepare?

If you get an interview, what can you do to feel more prepared?

If you have applied in the past and would like some feedback or if you are just looking for some extra advice:

Please feel free to contact this year’s VP: Finance and Administration, Marley Wildish (suvpfa@wlu.ca), to set up a meeting.